Trustees approve $42K in software applications

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

BENTON TOWNSHIP — Trustees agreed to buy four software applications that are geared toward streamlining Benton Township operations.

Among the software purchases are from BS&A for fixed assets, BS&A for payroll, Executime for payroll, and Board Effect for creating agenda and board packet information electronically.

The software will cost the township a combined $42,800.

In addition to the total cost and initial setup, board documents show the four applications will cost about $9,000 per year in recurring maintenance expenses.

Comptroller Kelli Nelson told the board Tuesday that the township now outsources its payroll duties. The software applications would cut out the middle man. The fixed assets software would also track and date items put in service and calculate the depreciation expense for all township assets.

Executime is a tracking and time card system. It tracks benefits, sick days and vacation time. The township now uses paper time cards that have to be manually overseen.

All of the time collected through Executime would then be imported into the BS&A payroll application to be processed.

“There is going to be a significant amount of time before we get Executime and the payroll software up and running,” Nelson said. “I expect it to be implemented in January or February so payroll can be included early enough during the training process.”

Nelson said the implementation of the software will be staggered.

Trustees and board books

The application known as Board Effect is specifically geared toward trustees. It would essentially replace the board packets trustees receive prior to meetings.

Nelson said the application would implement an electronic board book. Trustees would use a tablet or an iPad instead of the regular packet of papers.

“The board book would be prepared by the clerk in a similar manner,” Nelson said. “A lot of the documents we have are in an electronic format, so they’d be dragged into agenda items. Everything would look the same, except it would be on a screen.”

Nelson said this would allow the township to get information out to trustees at an earlier time. All previous board minutes and agendas would then be available for access through township archives.

The Board Effect software would cost $3,000 a year, which is about $125 per board meeting. Nelson said the software is a minimal cost compared to the preparation, the price of mailing out the packets and printing the paper.

Nelson recommended trustees get a tutorial of using the software during the next workshop. Her hope is to have trustees familiar with the Board Effect software by the second meeting in October.

“It’s a very user-friendly application,” Nelson said. “This is going to allow us to focus our efforts on other areas as we become more efficient. For a lot of these (applications), your return on investment is going to be in a very short amount of time.”

Trustee Cathy Yates said Tuesday the township will benefit from the software applications.

“The way most companies are going, if you don’t modernize the way you do business then you fall behind,” Yates said. “I do know technology does make us more error free. It will make things faster.”

Contact Tony Wittkowski at twittkowski@TheHP.com or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter: @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Sept. 22, 2016)
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